NAIA Ramblings of Jason Dannelly from 10/21/2006: Attitudes, Message Boards, Coaches and Making it a Great Day.

I can safely say that I have met and talked with nearly every coach in the NAIA. Everyone of them brings a different personality to the table and have their own agendas that are fun to talk about.

There are 5-10 coaches I love to talk to about “the NAIA.” For one reason or another they are pretty well versed in the national thoughts on football as well as things happening within the organization. They might have an inside track because they are a rater or serve on a committee but in the end they are full of knowledge.

There are also 5-10 coaches that are characters and I always leave the conversation with a big smile on my face. They have great one liners and bring tons of energy to the interview or just in their daily life. The one that comes to mind in this category is Bob Green of Montana Tech. Tech finally realized how funny some of his one liners were and started making t-shirts every week for the football games. I currently own the “Rougher than a stucco bathtub” edition. Also I challenge you to find a coach with more energy.

There are also 90 head coaches that love the game of football and spend every waking hour making sure their program is on the right track. Most of them do it for less than what most DI schools spend on paper for their weekly playbooks.

The point I am trying to make it nothing pains me more when I see coaches bashed on message boards for their personalities or for something within their lives that does not pertain to their performance as a coach. I’ll explain.

I am seeing a lot of people talking about a coach “yelling” too much, or “not communicating” or ” being standoffish”. You know what I say?

So what? The game of college football is about execution and mental toughness. You stay up, positive, do what you’re suppose to, and not turn the ball over and I’ll show you a team that wins football games. I cannot remember ever meeting a coach that never yelled at a player or challenged him so much that the player did not contemplate quitting.

It goes through every college football players mind at some point. Maybe for five seconds …maybe for five days.

I call it the ole “Coach yelled at me, he’s a jerk, I cannot respect him, I should just quit” talk. I have yet to me a college football player that did not have that thought at least once. And if they say they haven’t, they are lying.

The important thing to come from that “talk” is how you respond to your own inner demons and the people that surround you. Hence, the mental toughness.

Let’s face it, the world is a negative place if you allow it to be. Listen to enough people talk, read enough message boards, and watch enough television and you will be convinced that everything is going to heck fast.

The same can be said about a college football team. Listen to enough negative influences, classmates, and alumni and you will be convinced that nothing will ever change. And since nothing will every change, why should you even try?

It’s sad, but that is the state of mind of a lot of people when they get down on themselves. So naturally who is to blame for this state of mind? THE COACHES! Right?

It could not possibly be the fact the coach is trying to challenge a few kids to see if they can handle the heat.

It could not possibly be because the coach wants to see who is mentally tough.

It could NEVER be the fact the player was not giving his all and committing to the team.

Nope, it has to be the coach. Fire him. Fire him now. Who cares about his family. Who cares if his program is the worst funded program in the conference? Who cares if he has only been on the job for six months? Who cares if they lost on fluke plays or last minute hail mary passes? FIRE THEM!!!!

This way you can hire a new guy to be the savior until he starts off 2-4 or 4-3 or 1-6. Then you need to FIRE HIM!

Basically what I am trying to say in this rant is we have to get out of this mentality of comparing what happens in NAIA programs to big time Division I programs. Everyone is playing at this level for one reason or another and everyone is coaching at this level for one reason or another.

You can let this negativity get you down or even play right into its hands. But I would be inclined to ask you to take a new approach. NAIA Hall of Famer Frosty Westering has a great mantra on this which is just simply: “Make it a GREAT DAY!” No one “has” a great day, but you choose to “make it” a great day.

You can let the normal negative parts of life get you down or you can choose to make it a great day.

This level of sports builds strong leaders and go-getters who are willing to do things on their own because they did not have the resources available to them. Look at this site. It was started from the ground up on a small laptop computer that today would be nothing more than a glorified paper weight. No one told me to do it – I just did it. And if I would have quit every time a coach yelled at me for his name being posted on a message board, or some poster posting libelous material about a program we would have never seen month two of NAIAFOOTBALL.NET. Instead of letting it get me down, I choose to make it a great day.

Just this week I have exchanged emails with several coaches and programs that are not happy with the amount of “pub” or “disrespect” that this web site has given them. Relationships have gotten strained and some coaches will not return my calls or do interviews with me.

That is fine. I’ts what they feel is the right thing to do. I could care less if they consider me to be a friend or foe. But one thing I want coaches, players, parents and fans of this site to understand is that I feel like I have the best interest of their program in mind. I absolutely love NAIA football and would never do anything to disrespect it or the hard work that goes into it.

I will not allow people to come onto this web site and bash a coach for his personal stance or for him choosing to remove or keep a player on his team. It is his team, he can do what he wants with it. I will almost always side with the coaches at this level because of what they have to endure day in and day out.

Even if they are the coaches that won’t return my phone calls. J

Take lemons and make lemonade, make it a great day, or whatever. When it’s all said and done we control our destiny. Not some coach who yelled at you. Not some hack on a message board. And definitely not some washed up linebacker-wanna-be-journalist that has chosen to follow NAIA football like it was Moses through the desert.

Here’s to making it a great day, here’s to making to another promised land … also known as “Saturday” in NAIA country.

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